Photo by John Arano on Unsplash

Inflation may be bringing down the vibes (and the balance) of your bank account, but there's good news if you like to party in Fort Worth.

A study by price-monitoring website PriceListo found that Fort Worth is the No. 9 most affordable U.S. city for a night out.

The study looked at cost-of-living data from U.S. cities with populations above 500,000 to discover the average price of a cocktail, cab fare, bottle of wine, and pint of beer. They also collaborated with hotel deal-finders Vio to determine the median price for a single-night stay in the city.

The overall cost for that late-night buzz adds up to $172.14 in Fort Worth.

Here's how that stacks up: the median single-night price for a hotel stay in Fort Worth will set you back $121.77, while the cost of a three-mile cab fare is $9.47. One cocktail at a downtown club costs $12, while a bottle of good-quality red wine for the table is $15. If you cap off the night at a pub, a pint of beer is just $5.40. And if you need to eat some food to offset the impending hangover, a McDonald’s combo meal costs $8.50. All of that adds up to the ninth most affordable night out in the United States. Don't forget to close out your tabs.

Only one Texas city was more affordable than Fort Worth: San Antonio (No. 2). A night out in the Alamo City costs $134.56. The leading affordable U.S. city for a night out is Las Vegas.

The top 10 cities that are the most affordable for a night out include:

  • No. 1: Las Vegas – $120.76
  • No. 2: San Antonio – $134.56
  • No. 3: Oklahoma City – $136.98
  • No. 4: San Francisco – $142.94
  • No. 5: Fresno, California – $145.55
  • No. 6: Albuquerque – $157.47
  • No. 7: Jacksonville, Florida – $162.42
  • No. 8: Philadelphia – $168.74
  • No. 9: Fort Worth – $172.14
  • No. 10: Chicago – $173.81

Other Texas cities fared far worse than Fort Worth. Austin came in as the No. 3 most expensive city for a night out, with the overall cost adding up to $221.23, and Houston was the No. 9 most expensive city for a night out at $209.54.

The 10 most expensive cities for a night out are:

  • No. 1: San Diego – $225.27
  • No. 2: Charlotte, North Carolina – $224.75
  • No. 3: Austin – $221.23
  • No. 4: Memphis, Tennessee – $216.25
  • No. 5: Columbus, Ohio – $212.47
  • No. 6: Boston – $211.16
  • No. 7: Seattle – $210.61
  • No. 8: Washington, D.C. – $210.39
  • No. 9: Houston – $209.54
  • No. 10: Tucson, Arizona – $203.39
Dallas ranked No. 24 with the most expensive price for a cocktail ($25) but the cheapest three-mile cab fare at $5.41. Dallas' night out expenses rang up to $181.57.
Black Lagoon

Fort Worth bar is one of 9 across the U.S. to host spooky Halloween pop-up

Holiday News

A Fort Worth bar is one of the few bars across the U.S. chosen to host a special pop-up with a Halloween theme. Called Black Lagoon, it's an immersive Halloween pop-up bar concept that will hit nine cities across the U.S., and that includes Nickel City, the Austin-based neighborhood bar located at 212 S. Main St. in Fort Worth.

According to a release, Black Lagoon is a horror experience created by industry veterans Erin Hayes (Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles and Chicago's Lost Lake) and Kelsey Ramage (Trash Collective and Supernova, opening soon in Toronto). Here they are in a photo, looking very spooky Morticia.

They first debuted the concept in Toronto in 2021; it was subsequently crowned Best Pop-Up Bar in Canada, although that could also be that Canadians are easily impressed. Jury is still out.

The release says that Nickel City will be transformed into a wicked environment, with decor cues taken from goth culture and cult horror, such as House of 1,000 Corpses, including skulls and life-sized coffins. You're encouraged to wear costumes.

"Kelsey and I both love the metal/goth/horror bars and those spots really inspired Black Lagoon, but they are more beer-and-a-shot places," says Hayes in a statement. "With our background in the spirits world, we wanted to pay extra attention to make sure our [cocktails are] as tasty as they are blood curdling."

The drinks menu is built around Halloween hues with beverages that are blood red, the darkest black, and eerie orange, to include:

  • Screaming Banshee, with gin, Giffard L'Abricot, pineapple syrup and Greek yogurt
  • Lilith's Cup, with Mount Gay Black Barrel, Aperol, vermouth, passionfruit syrup, and glitter
  • Closed Casket, with Bruichladdich Classic, St. Remy, Giffard L'Abricot, passionfruit syrup, and miso ferlernum
  • Hellraiser, with Hornitos, Chairman’s spiced rum Cointreu, and spiced oat orgeat

Cocktails will be served in custom glassware, which is always a big thing with these pop-up bars. Said glassware will also be for sale, which is also a big thing with these pop-up bars.

Musically, the playlist will feature a subtle hardcore vibe, throwing in punk and metal along with a soundtrack of eerie noises.

Nickel City is a favorite DFW destination for holiday-themed pop-up bars, having previously hosted the very similar-in-concept Miracle, a Christmas-themed pop-up of national scope both in 2020 and in 2021.

"We wanted markets that have vibrant countercultures so patrons who are likely to enjoy our immersive vibe will come and feel right at home," says Hayes.

The full list of bars includes:

  • Chicago: The Dandy Crown in partnership with Hospitality 201
  • Portland: Hey Love
  • Los Angeles: Lost Property Bar
  • Dallas/Fort Worth: Nickel City
  • Denver: Yacht Club
  • NY: Our Wicked Lady
  • Montreal: 132 Bara Vintage
  • Vancouver: Butcher & Bullock
  • Toronto: Third Space

The pop-up begins in September and they're hosting a special preview on Sunday, September 4 which is open to the public from 6-10 pm.

Black Lagoon is about celebrating a spooky holiday but the pop-up is also about creating a safe space for those who may not feel at ease in every cocktail bar.

"We want this to be a space for the weird, for the misfits and the goths," Hayes says.

"As an adult, this concept embraces my inner goth metal kid who just loved Halloween," says her partner Ramage. "We just want to let people have fun and experience true freedom from judgment."

Photo courtesy of Cowtown Concepts LLC

A little birdie social club with patios galore has opened in Fort Worth

Birdie News

A veteran bar group in Fort Worth is debuting a new venue: Called Birdie's Social Club, it's in the Cultural District at a familiar address: 2736 W 6th St., IE, the space that was formerly Lola's, which is relocating.

Birdie's is a casual, open-air concept, spanning the entire block between 5th and 6th streets, with three indoor and outdoor bars, multiple patios, food, drinks, and entertainment. According to a release, it's now open.

The club is from Cowtown Concepts LLC, creators of the Curfew Bar, with inspiration culled from a variety of sources spanning Route 66, country clubs, and the pastel flourishes of Palm Springs, evinced via large-scale murals and colorful details such picnic benches, umbrella tables, and loungers that have transformed the historic space.

The venue has both an outdoor covered stage for live acts and an indoor stage called The Clubhouse for intimate shows. They'll be open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.

Details on the food are still forthcoming, but the cocktail menu for the outside space includes Birdie's Laughing Margarita; an Arnold Palmer with house-made peach tea available by the pitcher; and the Little Hollywood, a riff on the Dirty Shirley with bourbon and an ancho chile kick.

Inside features a cigar-lounge feel with a moody upscale interior, where they serve classic cocktails like the Tom Collins and the Gimlet.

But it's also designed to be family-friendly, and has an all-ages policy until 10 pm.

A grand opening is penciled in for Wednesday, August 31 from 4-8 pm with the Powell Brothers, Fletcher's Corny Dogs, and complimentary champagne from the Bubble Bus while supplies last.


Landmark Fort Worth bar with patio & games opens spinoff in Dallas

SMU News

A successful Fort Worth bar is bringing its patio and games to Dallas: Landmark Bar & Kitchen, which has been opened in the West Seventh area since 2013, is opening a spinoff on Dallas' SMU Boulevard, on the ground floor of the Shelby Residences building at 5609 SMU Blvd., in late July.

Landmark is from One Entertainment Group, whose portfolio includes Theory Nightclub, Playground Bar, and Texas Republic. One Entertainment founder/principal Sam Sameni felt like the Landmark Bar & Kitchen was the right concept for the space.

It'll be a relaxed concept with an enclosed patio boasting arcade and backyard games, better-than-bar food, cheap drinks, and a crazy-big TV screen measuring 130 square feet.

"We wanted to give people in the neighborhood a laid back place to hang out and have fun," Sameni says.

The space will comprise 7,000 square feet with a serious commitment to pets that includes a dog-friendly patio, dog toys, chews, and a special doggie food menu.

"We feel like we'll complement legendary bars already in the area such as Milo's Butterfingers and Barley House," he says.

The original Landmark Bar & Kitchen has become a landmark in its neighborhood thanks to its broadly welcoming vibe and varied programming for a variety of tastes, be that karaoke, music bingo, steak night ($15 steak and loaded potato on Wednesdays), boozy brunch, and live music.

"There's always something going on, and it doesn't feel like the same thing every night," Sameni says. "We also usually offer the best happy hour in the neighborhood."

At the Dallas location, that'll mean $4 Titos, Jack, frozen drinks, and beers Monday-Fridays 4-7 pm, with a free nacho bar to sweeten the deal. (Speaking of, Landmark is offering $1 drinks during opening week; go to LandmarkBars.com and sign up to get the special.)

One Entertainment Group also owns Cutie Pies Pizza, The Yard, and Hot Chicks Chicken, which has a location right next door to the space.

Country music icon and Gilley's co-founder Mickey Gilley passes away at 86

remembering mickey gilley

A country music icon has passed away. Mickey Gilley, the singer-songwriter whose career spanned more than 50 years, died Saturday, May 7 surrounded by his family, according to Pasadena, Texas mayor Jeff Wagner. He was 86.

Born in 1936 in Natchez, Mississippi to a famed family that included iconic cousins Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart, Gilley cut his teeth at small clubs, eventually charting 39 Top 10 hits and 17 No. 1 singles.

In 1970, he opened his now-famed, eponymous Gilley’s honky-tonk in Pasadena, which would eventually be known as the “world’s biggest honky-tonk.”

The club — and its legendary mechanical bull — would eventually create a memorable setting in the 1980 John Travolta smash hit, Urban Cowboy. An over-the-top movie premiere at the club in 1980 saw the likes of Lynn Wyatt, Andy Warhol, and Diane von Furstenberg.

Gilley not only starred in the blockbuster, but his cover of “Stand by Me” became a pop and adult contemporary hit that year, marking a resurgence for the singer. (He later recounted that magical era with TV legend Dave Ward.)

With Urban Cowboy putting him back in the spotlight, Gilley moved to television in the 1980s, appearing in popular series such as Murder She Wrote, The Fall Guy, Fantasy Island, and Dukes of Hazzard.

His Gilley's club no longer operates in Pasadena (a store is located nearby), as it shuttered in 1989 due to dispute between Gilley and one-time partner Sherwood Cryer. In 1990, the honky tonk burned down; the fire was ruled as arson by local investigators.

Gilley sold the naming rights to Dallas-based developer Matthews Southwest, and Gilley's Dallas opened in 2003. It's currently owned by Don Nelson. There are also locations in Las Vegas and Oklahoma.

He has a connection to Billy Bob's Texas in Fort Worth, too. A history snippet on Billy Bob's website recalls, "Mickey owned his own honky tonk place that was called Gilley’s and he was upset when Billy Bob’s opened that we called ourselves the world's largest honky tonk. Well eventually when we got Mickey Gilley to play here, we sold T-Shirts that said 'Gilley plays Billy’s.'”

A longtime Pasadena resident, Gilley boasts a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, six Academy of Country Music Awards, and a place in the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. Fittingly, a street in Pasadena is named for the star: Mickey Gilley Boulevard.

“Pasadena has lost a true legend,” Wagner said in a social media post, adding that “his talent and larger-than-life personality helped ignite a new interest in country music as he introduced the world to Pasadena through his dance hall and Urban Cowboy in 1980. We were so honored to have Mickey perform at our State of the City in February, 2020. Our prayers for comfort and peace are with Mickey’s family, his loved ones and his fans.”

Photo by Greg Blomberg

Pinky's uncorks Champagne and jazz in Fort Worth's Near Southside

Bubbly News

UPDATE 3-18-2022: Pinky's opens on March 18.

There's a new lounge coming to Fort Worth's Near Southside that will specialize in three great things: Champagne, booze, and live jazz. Called Pinky's Champagne Room & Velvet Jazz Lounge, it's dubbing itself "a place for cool cats to break it down, imbibe, and enjoy local jazz," and it will open at 615 S. Jennings Ave., which was most recently a bar called Low Key Tavern, but has also been home to CraftCade, The Last Word Bookstore, and at one time, was part of Tony's Pizza.

Pinky's is from husband-and-wife John Cocke and Dena Mangrum-Cocke, who both have worked in the food & beverage industry and are opening their very first place.

John, who worked for Consilient for many years, moved to Fort Worth to work at Fireside Pies (then called Thirteen Pies) in the West 7th District. He also worked at Hotel Otto, the little hotel from chef Tim Love.

They're hoping to open Pinky's by March.

"Dena and I were thinking, 'What does Fort Worth need?'" John says. "And we thought about all these places that used to have jazz, like Sardine's, that have now closed. We're talking about jazz with no cover charge. We love the Scat Lounge downtown, but they're a different kind of place, and they charge cover."

Their inspiration was a lounge with the same name that they visited on a road trip.

"We visited a place called Pinky's Champagne Room, it's in the middle of Missouri, it's been closed for a while, but it was this little tiny room with so much charm," he says.

They're very into bubbles, which is fortuitous, since champagne bars are starting to trend.

"We're spotlighting sparkling wines," he says. "We'll be doing five glasses of champagne plus five other bubbles from around the world. And then a menu of 10 concoctions featuring bubbles like an Aperol Spritz, plus a few New Orleans-style cocktails. The back part of the menu will have about 14-15 bottles of champagne."

"We will be a Champagne room with live music — that's what we’re trying to accomplish," he says.

They're currently in the thick of construction which includes repositioning the entrance so that it's on the side of the building, speakeasy-style. The room will have 100 seats, and come with a certain degree of swanky kitsch, perhaps previewed best by their logo: A black background with Pinky's and a sexy coupe champagne glass with a few bubbles floating on top, all done in hot pink.

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'Yellowstone' stars to greet fans at Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo

Yellowstone news

Yellowstone fans, get your comfy shoes ready - there'll be a long line for this one. Cole Hauser a.k.a. "Rip Wheeler" on Yellowstone, and Taylor Sheridan, the show's co-creator, executive producer, and director of the series, will meet fans and sign autographs at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.

The event will take place from 4:30-6:30 pm only on Friday, February 3. Location is the 6666 Ranch booth near the south end of Aisle 700 in the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall.

According to a February 2 announcement from FWSSR, "fans will have the opportunity to snag an autograph as well as purchase some distinctive Yellowstone and 6666 Ranch merchandise while also enjoying all the features the Stock Show offers."

The event is free to attend (with paid Stock Show admission) and open to the public.

It's the second year in a row for Hauser to appear at FWSSR; in 2022, he and fellow cast mates drew huge crowds.

Sheridan, a Paschal High School graduate, is no stranger to Fort Worth; he lives in a ranch near Weatherford and filmed 1883, the prequel to Yellowstone, in and around Fort Worth. Currently, another spinoff, 1883: The Bass Reeves Story, is filming in North Texas.

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is winding up its 2023 run on Saturday, February 4.

Get free pet food, vaccines, and spay/neuter at Fort Worth animal event

Animal News

Animal shelters across North Texas are overcrowded right now, due to an increase in owner surrenders, and a group of animal rescues are coming to the rescue.

Several Texas-based animal welfare organizations are coming together on Saturday June 3, to offer a day of free pet food, vaccines, microchips, and spay/neuter vouchers to pet owners in Fort Worth.

The owner surrenders are a symptom of economic pressures and related issues such as food insecurity, which are up in Texas and across the U.S.

According to a release, in Fort Worth alone, the North Texas Food Bank estimates that 30 percent of the population faces challenges accessing nutritious food. These issues affect not only people, but pets as well - often resulting in families surrendering their pets to a shelter or to an animal rescue.

Fort Worth Animal Care and Control (FWACC), which receives animals from the area, has seen an increase in animals—more than 1,000 additional animals coming through its doors so far this fiscal year—with many exhibiting signs of illness easily prevented by vaccinations.

The significant increase in animals has stressed resources that are already maxed out. FWACC for example, has faced a difficult crease in its "live release rate" - the percentage of animals that leave their care alive. Last year, its live release rate was at 96 percent and a year later, it has decreased to 87 percent.

Keeping pets at home where they have families who love them is a key component to preventing shelter crowding and the impact felt by the organizations who are faced with it.

The event is Saturday June 3, from 8 am-12 pm, rain or shine, and will take place at 1678 Rockwood Ln., across from Rockwood Park.

Organizations stepping up to help include Cowtown Friends of Fort Worth Animal Control; Spay Neuter Network; Dallas Pets Alive; The Love Pit; and SPCA of Texas.Partners: Fort Worth Animal Care and Control; Don’t Forget to Feed Me Pet Food Bank; Saving Hope Animal Rescue; and Rahr to the Rescue.

The event is supported by CUDDLY, a mission-driven company centered around the needs of rescued animals and the community focused programs that sustain them.

3 Dallas-Fort Worth entrepreneurs rank among Forbes' richest self-made women for 2023

Elite entrepreneurs

Twelve of the country's 100 most successful female entrepreneurs live in Texas this year, and three of them call Dallas-Fort Worth home. So says Forbes in its 2023 list of America's Richest Self-Made Women, released June 1.

"Bolstered in part by a rebound in the stock market, [the richest 100 female entrepreneurs] are cumulatively worth a record $124 billion, up nearly 12% from a year ago," says Forbes.

To make the Forbes list, women had to garner wealth on their own, rather than by inheriting or winning it.

Texas' wealthiest women have made their fortunes in fields ranging from home health care, insurance, and aviation logistics to jewelry design, dating apps, and running the show at SpaceX.

The three female entrepreneurs from North Texas who appear in the elite club of America’s richest self-made women (and their national rankings) are:

  • Robyn Jones, No. 29, of Fort Worth. Her net worth is estimated at $830 million. Jones is founder of Westlake-based Goosehead Insurance Agency LLC. She started the property and casualty insurance agency in 2003 after being frustrated with her truck-driver husband's "road warrior lifestyle," Forbes says. He joined her in 2004 and they took the company public in 2018. It has nearly 1,000 franchised offices.
  • April Anthony, No. 34, of Dallas. Forbes puts her net worth at $740 million. She founded the Dallas-based home health and hospice division of Encompass Health Corp and sold it for $750 million to HealthSouth. In 2022, she was named CEO of VitalCaring, a home health and hospice care firm.
  • Kathleen Hildreth, No. 44, of Aubrey. Her net worth is estimated at $590 million. Hildreth is co-founder of M1 Support Services LP, an aviation logistics company based in Denton. A service-disabled Army veteran, she graduated from West Point in 1983 and was deployed all around the world as a helicopter pilot.

The nine other Texans who appear on the list are from Austin and Central Texas.

With an estimated net worth at $4.8 billion, Thai Lee, of Austin, remains at the top of the list in Texas, and ranks No. 5 nationally.

She falls behind only No. 1 Diane Hendricks of Wisconsin (co-founder of ABC Supply, $15 billion net worth); No. 2 Judy Loveof Oklahoma (chairman and CEO, Love's Travel Stops And Country Stores, $10.2 billion); No. 3 Judy Faulkner of Wisconsin (founder and CEO, Epic Systems, $7.4 billion); and No. 4 Lynda Resnick of California (co-founder and co-owner of Wonderful Company, $5.3 billion) among America's richest self-made women.

For some additional perspective, Oprah Winfrey lands at No. 13 on the list for 2023. The TV titan (and most famous woman on the planet) has an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion, Forbes says.

Austin's Lee, a native of Bangkok who holds an MBA from Harvard University, is founder, president, and CEO of SHI International Corp., a provider of IT products and services with a projected revenue of $14 billion in 2023. Fun fact: "Lee majored in both biology and economics," Forbes says, "in part because her English was less than perfect and she wanted to avoid writing and speaking in class."

The remaining eight Texas women on the list are:
  • Gwynne Shotwell, No. 27, of Jonesboro (Coryell-Hamilton counties). Her net worth is estimated at $860 million. Shotwell is president and COO of Elon Musk's SpaceX. She manages the operations of the commercial space exploration company and owns an estimated stake of 1 percent, Forbes says.
  • Lisa Su, No. 34, Austin. Forbes pegs Su’s net worth at $740 million, tying her with April Anthony of Dallas. The native of Taiwan is president and CEO of Santa Clara, California-based semiconductor company Advanced Micro Devices.
  • Kendra Scott, No. 47, of Austin.Forbes says she has amassed a net worth of $550 million as founder of Kendra Scott LLC, which designs and sells jewelry in more than 100 stores (and is worth $360 million). The celebrity entrepreneur is also a judge on TV's Shark Tank.
  • Whitney Wolfe Herd, No. 52, of Austin. She is worth an estimated $510 million. Herd is co-founder and CEO of Bumble Inc., which operates two online dating apps: Bumble and Badoo. She owns a 17% stake in Bumble and became the youngest self-made woman billionaire after it went public in February 2021.
  • Paige Mycoskie, No. 73, of Austin. She is worth an estimated $380 million. Mycoskie created founded her 1970s-inspired California lifestyle brand, Aviator Nation, which took off during the pandemic and now has 16 retail locations across the U.S. If the name sounds familiar, that's because she's the sister of TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie, with whom she competed on TV's The Amazing Race.
  • Imam Abuzeid, No. 77, of Austin. Her net worth is estimated at $350 million. Abuzeid is the co-founder and CEO of Incredible Health, which she started in 2017 to help alleviate America's nursing shortage. Forbes describes it as "a souped-up version of LinkedIn for nurses." Abuzeid is one of only a handful of Black female founders to run a company valued at more than $1 billion, Forbes notes.
  • Julia Cheek, No. 92, of Austin. Her net worth is estimated at $260 million. Cheek founded at-home testing company Everly Health in 2015 "out of frustration at having to pay thousands for lab testing to diagnose issues related to vitamin imbalance," Forbes says. It got a Shark Tank deal with Lori Greiner and is now worth roughly $1.8 billion.
  • Belinda Johnson, No. 96, of Austin. She is worth an estimated $250 million. Johnson was Airbnb's first chief operating officer and led many of its legal disputes. She stepped down from that role in March 2020, Forbes says, and left the company's board in June 2023.